“So you don’t remember me? Let me remind you something about your first day college. Weren’t you wearing a violet top?”
“Yes and how do you know that?”, she tried respond pretending to appear calm despite wondering how did he even remember that.
“Because I was one of the persons who tried talking to you when you just cried and ran away. And yeah that was your nickname”, he answered.
She knew about the nickname but the fact that he remembered it all made her worried.
“Can we talk later please? There is long queue.”
“Okay your highness. I’ll see you after your done”
The endless signing of books didn’t calm her troubled mind even a little. As soon as she was done, he was there waiting for her. How she wished he would have just left. But he hadn’t. He began shooting his questions as soon as she was within a talking distance of him.
“So tell me, why did you leave college after that? Too rich for college? Felt homesick?”
“Why do I have to tell you why I left college? Its none of your business!”
“Oh Ma’am, it is my business! There was a challenge up in college and whoever got any information about you would be the winner”
“What? But why me?”
“Because you broke our record!”
“Record? What record?”
“We had a record for talking to every junior on the first day of college and you broke that. You ignored us!”
“So what? Its my choice”
“I know but I just wanted to know why”
“Like I said earlier, it is none of your business.”
“But please I want to know”
Telling that story would be painful. But she wanted to it to be over- not just his pestering questions, but also the fact she hadn’t shared anything about the incident that changed her life to anyone. And so she narrated it all- the pain, the sorrow and the struggles that she endured.
“The book is a mellowed down version of my story”, she finally added.
“But why did you call it “Shrinking Violet”? You didn’t know about the nickname we’d given you because you weren’t in college”
“Coincidence”, she said smiling faintly.
“So you knew that we’d named you Shrinking Violet?”
“Yes! But why did you think that I was rich and I had left college because I’d felt homesick?”
“Because of that poem you dropped when you walked away. You spoke about being rich and how this isn’t the place for you. And today I found the exact same poem while I was flipping through the pages of your book.”
“You found that poem? Took me so long to recollect it and quote it in my book. It was poem I wrote from my friend’s perspective. I’d promised her that I’d send it but then I couldn’t”
“Oh so we now know the red herring”
“Seems like it. Can I go now? Too many questions for a day!”
“Sorry for all that! I thought that you were rich and that was how you’d managed to get your book published. But I know realize how wrong I was. I wanted to be an author too but now I’m just a frustrated photographer.”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
“Let it go maybe”
“Because that is easy.”
“Its more difficult than you think it. I’d forgotten what I wanted to be, but destiny somehow led me to it. And now I think I can’t turn back”
“So what do I do?”
“Ignore the red herrings and just do what you want to do.”